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EBP Compendium: Summary of Systematic Review

Partial support provided by Michigan State University Hearing Research Center
Otitis Media and Language Development: A Meta-Analysis

Casby, M. W. (2001).
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 10(1), 65-80.

Indicators of Review Quality:

The review addresses a clearly focused question No
Criteria for inclusion of studies are provided Yes
Search strategy is described in sufficient detail for replication No
Included studies are assessed for study quality No
Quality assessments are reproducible No

Description: This is a meta-analysis of prospective/ambispective investigations exploring the relationship between otitis media with effusion (OME) and oral language development in children.

Question(s) Addressed:

Question not specifically stated.

Population: Young children (not further specified) with otitis media with effusion.

Intervention/Assessment: Assessment of oral language comprehension and production.

Number of Studies Included: 32

Years Included: Mid-1960s to 2001



  • Management
    • Speech and Language
      • General Findings
        • The results reveal markedly low effect sizes with children with a positive history of OME performing very similarly to those with no history of OME on various measures including global, receptive, expressive, and spontaneous language performance.
        • "The low effect sizes found here may in part reflect the lack of consistent focus on the determination of the hearing levels of the research participants in numerous primary studies. Therefore, despite the findings of low ESs [effect sizes] for children’s language and OME history at large, it may yet be argued that the potential hearing impairment associated with OME may affect different aspects of a child’s oral language…such a potential hearing impairment, apart from OME, may have a deleterious effect on speech perception and such language components as phonology and grammatical morphology” (p. 77).
        • One research and clinical implication of this meta-analysis is that children suspected of having OME, "…must have more attention paid to their hearing abilities, and important aspects of quality of life in addition to the evaluation and diagnosis of OME. Another is that a history of OME in and of itself does not necessarily predict that young children will have language-learning impairments" (p. 77).

Keywords: Otitis Media

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Added to Compendium: April 2012

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